The intranet is a company’s digital space for sharing knowledge, information, and resources. It can store all of the company’s communications in one place and has been shown to increase employee satisfaction by providing access to more job-related information. In addition, it improves the office environment because it allows employees to find what they need quickly without interrupting their work or other people.
Intranets are also great for boosting productivity with features like search engines that allow users to easily find anything within seconds. They have helped many companies cut costs by reducing paper use and printing expenses while simultaneously increasing efficiency through convenient online file storage and quicker document retrieval methods.
To get the most out of intranet software, a company needs to dedicate time and resources towards its design and implementation, and the cost of setting up an intranet is a key consideration. No two organizations are the same. Each company has unique and specific needs that determine the cost of setting up an intranet. Larger enterprises will need bigger budgets due to the size of operations and the number of staff. Some organizations also need highly customized solutions, whereas others can make do with an out-of-the-box solution.
Company Intranet Strategy
The intranet strategy should be the first point of reference for intranet costs. An intranet that fails to match company goals and needs may result in costly intranet maintenance, upgrade, or development later down the road. This could amount to thousands of dollars over time if it is not done right the first time around.
Developing a strategy should be done in consultation with all company stakeholders. This ensures concurrence from all departments that an intranet is necessary. The last thing you want is for the project to appear like the IT Division is pushing it.
While formulating the strategy, consider the following elements:
- Business objectives: Are intranet capabilities required for promoting better engagement and collaboration within the company? Recent studies suggest that 78% of employees are not engaged — they do not work with passion and don’t feel a profound connection to their employer. Is it an intranet for external communication or both? Are intranet features needed to help your employees be more productive at work? Bottom line, the intranet proposal should align with business goals and help every department meet its objectives.
- Workforce demographics: How many people will be using intranet software regularly? Which profiles are they junior, mid-level, or senior? The generational mix is also vital to intranet features and platform usability.
- Projected intranet use: To get a realistic idea of intranet traffic, you need to identify the number of unique users per month that will access intranet pages across all departments. You also have to consider intranet usage during shift changes, so you might want to factor this in too. Again, the more people and use, the higher the cost.
- Installation strategy: The execution needs to be well-planned to ensure minimal disruption to business processes. Moving intranet content to the cloud can be part of this plan, but you may want to limit the number of platforms involved initially, owing to budget constraints. Technical requirements will also depend on intranet features and hosting options available to your organization.
- Reporting: Determine the frequency of reports and the insights needed for decision-making. The intranet should offer a secure, convenient, and intuitive means of generating reports, whatever intranet software solution you end up choosing.
- Responsibilities: Maintaining an intranet is labor-intensive, so intranet support is often part of the agreement with the provider. Ask how many intranet admins are assigned to your account and for how long. Also, find out if you will have access to intranet support engineers at any time of day or night (if you need them).
Technical Intranet Elements to Consider
With a strategy in place, consider the following technical elements before you acquire an intranet solution.
On-prem or cloud hosting
The gold standard is cloud hosting because of the time and resource savings from not undertaking on-premises maintenance and dedicating staff to that endeavor. However, intranets on-prem may be more feasible for small businesses that are just starting out.
Out-of-the-box solution or customization
If intranet software is bought off-the-shelf, it is easy to set up and deploy even by small organizations. However, the more customizable the intranet platform is, the pricier it gets like every other product or service. The intranet software company you choose will advise on intranet customization options available within your budget.
Technical support and upgrades
The intranet platform will require updates to stay current, secure, and efficient. The provider must notify you of upcoming upgrades well in advance to avoid business disruption. Support should be available during the upgrade process, and it is best if technical support is outsourced.
Content is vital to the intranet, so it must be constantly updated and remain informative. In addition, the learning curve should be gentle, allowing for easy publishing of new content without expertise in web design or software installation. Finally, intranet content must be secure, accessible only to employees with the proper permissions.
Budgeting for Intranet Software
The intranet market is very competitive, so prices are relatively affordable. For example, Microsoft Sharepoint pricing starts at $5 per user per month. The final price you pay will be dependent on intranet features, customization options available in your location, and the number of users that will have access to intranet pages across all departments.
But, when comparing different solutions, your key concern should be the total cost of ownership (TCO).
Your budget will include the following TCO elements:
Infrastructure and features
On-prem solutions will require more infrastructure and technical support than intranets hosted in the cloud. TCO will vary depending on intranet features and intranet hosting options. The intranet platform should also be scalable, so that it can quickly upgrade and downgrade resources based on usage.
Set up cost
You need to consider intranet implementation costs separately from the subscription because there may be one-off fees involved, such as setting up permissions and user groups. Also, if you opt for an intranet solution that is entirely customizable (in-house or customized platform), this might involve developing specific intranet modules to get everything you want, which can add to the initial startup costs. Be sure to ascertain any other ‘hidden’ charges involved before making a final decision.
An annual/monthly subscription usually covers software license, hardware resources, intranet hosting costs, intranet software upgrades, and intranet technical support. Companies with smaller intranets can opt for a lower-cost subscription, but beware of the potential danger of overstretching intranet traffic capacities.
A 24/7 intranet support option is crucial for businesses that operate in different time zones or require assistance outside business hours. You should not underestimate the cost of downtime; lost productivity due to system failure could be staggering when compounded over an entire year. An outsourced intranet support package will ensure your intranet is available at all times without having to hire additional in-house infrastructure specialists.
Training and onboarding resources
Some intranet software companies offer intranet training and on-boarding to familiarize intranet users with the system. This is useful for businesses that may not have intranet experience but want to reap intranet benefits. A lower-cost solution will include only on-demand intranet tutorials, while more advanced intranet platforms will likely include webinar training sessions.
Size of the organization
There are typically less expensive, customized intranet options for large organizations that offer everything that is needed within an intranet platform. However, if you are a startup or small business, one of the popular commercial intranets might better suit your budget needs.
Choosing an Intranet Solution
The intranet is a critical business tool that can help you better connect with your employees and enhance how knowledge flows throughout your company. If you’re considering an intranet for your organization, it’s essential to make sure the software solution meets all of your technical requirements and aligns with other systems in place at your company. We’ve highlighted some key factors to consider when budgeting for an intranet system and choosing one that will work best for you. We hope this information helps guide you on the journey towards creating or enhancing a strategy that fosters collaboration within your team, builds employee engagement, improves productivity, and creates meaningful connections between people.